Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tweaking the excellent CIHR policy

Stevan Harnad, CIHR Proposes 99.99% Optimal OA Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, October 12, 2006. Excerpt:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has proposed a 99.99% optimal Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate:

CIHR grant and award holders must:

(1a) [deposit all] final peer-reviewed published articles or final peer-reviewed full-text manuscripts
(1b) in an appropriate [OAI]-compliant digital archive, such as PubMed Central, or an institutional repository
(1c) immediately upon publication.
(1d) (A publisher-imposed embargo on open accessibility of no more than 6 months is acceptable.)


(2a) submit their manuscripts either to a journal that provides immediate open access to published articles (if a suitable journal exist


(2b) submit their manuscripts to a journal that allows authors to retain copyright and/or allows authors to archive journal publications in an open access archive within the six-month period following publication.

There is only one unnecessary and confusing clause in CIHR's policy: (2b). (2b) is redundant with [1]! ...So (2b) should simple be dropped....

[I]t would be best if CIHR's uniform rule consisted of just these 5 components:

I. must deposit final peer-reviewed manuscript (or published version)
II. in the author's own IR (or other OAI-compliant repository)
III. immediately upon (acceptance for) publication
(IV. access to the deposit must be set as Open Access within 6 months at latest)
(V. where possible, publish in a suitable OA journal)...

(CIHR also requires making research data and materials available for reasonable requests: Might as well recommend -- but not require -- that they are self-archived too, wherever possible!)

Bravo CIHR! ...

PS:  Note that, unlike the Wellcome Trust's Self-Archiving Mandate, CIHR's proposed mandate does not offer to fund option (2a) (publishing in an Open Access or hybrid "Open Choice" journal). Apparently CIHR did not feel it had the spare cash for this. This is quite understandable (although no doubt some publishers will complain vociferously about it): The fact is that all potential publication funds are currently tied up in covering the costs of institutional subscriptions, worldwide. If and when self-archiving should ever lead to institutional subscription cancellations that make the subscription model unsustainable, then those very institutional windfall savings themselves will be the natural source for the cash to cover OA publishing costs. No need to take it from research funds at this time, when it is unaffordable. OA is the immediate and urgent (and long-overdue) priority today, not pre-emptively cushioning a hypothetical transition to another publishing cost-recovery model (except where the spare cash is available).